From the Book of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee 1513 to 1885.

ANDREW ABERCROMBIE, PROVOST. - 1513

 

The name of ABERCROMBIE is derived from an estate in the county of Fife, and the PROVOST OF DUNDEE who succeeded LORD GRAY evidently belonged to the Abercrombies of that Ilk. His life is not recorded in any history of Dundee, though he must have been one, of the most successful Burgesses of his time. His name appears attached to the Letter of Guildry, dated 10th October 1515. From a charter executed by him in 1521, shortly before his death, it appears that he had founded an Altar dedicated to St. BARBARA in the Parish Church of Dundee before that time, and he then granted a large annual rent from his numerous properties in Dundee for the support of a perpetual Chaplain at that Altar. The eminent position which he must have then held in the Burgh is shown by the fact that he was owner of extensive properties in the Argylls gait, the Fleuker gait, the Well gait, and the Cow gait, no less than fourteen different tenements being laid under contribution to furnish the annual fee of the Chaplain. By a special clause in the charter he provided that that fee should not exceed 20 marks, the residue collected from these properties and from the estate of Gibliston in Fife being designed for distribution amongst the poor of Dundee. Nor were these the only pious benefactions of this worthy citizen. It was he who founded and endowed the Monastery of Black or Dominican Friars in Dundee, the last religious institution of the kind established in the Burgh. The building stood on the west side of the Friars' Vennel now Barrack Street opposite the burying ground of the Gray Friars or Franciscans, which afterwards became the Howff. The Dominicans or Preaching Friars -Fratres Predicatores were doomed to have but a brief existence in Dundee, as in 1567, about half a century after their foundation, the whole of their lands and endowments were conveyed by QUEEN MARY to the Town Council.


ANDREW ABERCROMBIE'S wife was ELIZABETH BARRY a name well known in Dundee at that time and she seems to have survived her husband for several years. Her consent to the Foundation charter of 1,521 is recorded, and it is certain that the Provost's death took place before 1526, as in that year the Perpetual Vicar of Lathrisk in Fife was in receipt of 10 sol. annually for masses to be said for the repose of the soul of " ANDREW ABERCROMBIE, late Burgess of Dundee." This duty was committed to the Chaplain of the Collegiate Kirk of Crail, and the annual fee was made over to him. No trace is now to be found of the property with which the Altar of St. BARBARA was endowed; and the name of ABERCROMBIE will not readily be recognised by the Burgesses of our time as that of a munificent benefactor.